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Its April 4th and early in the season for me. I can only remember fishing earlier, when eager to start, I rushed to Brecon to fish opening day on the Usk (March 3rd), maybe twenty years ago. It has been sunny for some days and the forecast for this day was good, so freeing up time, I headed off in Tonka Too (cleaned, and fully loaded with all the tackle I should need for the ‘Campaign of 2011’) for Sussex.

April 2011 – the Dudwell

I have joined Burwash Fishing Club, and already checked out the beats during the close season weekend of sister Carolyn’s latest big birthday party, so I knew where to start on a lovely sunny morning. It is as Jonathan described it, and I wrote to him –

“I visited the Bateman beat today and fished downstream of the Dudwell Bridge in mid  morning sunshine.

Interesting and difficult…to be mountain goat-like would be an advantage, and I am not! Sunny to start with but getting windier and greyer, and casting a downstream nymph, I had nothing.

Your Bailiff, Ben, and I had a chat and after, I went above the bridge and spooked a lone trout in the shallows.

I cast, again, downstream nymphing, in a number of places, to no avail.


Walking around the field on the (true) right bank, now and over the bridge and through the gate to the narrows, I spotted some bank work, which was a useful ‘clue’.

Sliding into the water and casting upstream for the first time, I had a 5” fish which took the PTN on the point in a pocket etched out beside the roots on a bankside tree.


Brilliant…a very early season visit, which repaid my endeavour with an East Sussex trout, and a new ‘County’ for my list. But….I will take advantage of my membership. Yours is a tricky water, and I cannot imagine how hard it will be when the foliage is dense in the Summer!

But I hope you will tell me that upwings are the norm and that dry fly can be productive in weeks to come!

One note , of which you may be aware. When back at my car and retying a lost cast, a dog walking ‘local’ told me he saw mink in the lower beat, last weekend.”

Ben also told me this stretch of this diminutive river contains only minnows and trout, as well as the odd sea trout, and lampreys….and I watched a small one wriggling amongst stones in the shallows (I have never seen one before, but did enjoy ‘Lamprey Bordelaise’ at Chateau Giscours at lunch in the Summer of 1979!?)

Just three hours of fishing….and it felt good to be back in the waders again, and enjoying a beautiful part of England in the colour of our Springtime.

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